Fiba Asia: China vs. Phils

I only caught the replay and by now everyone knows the result, but am writing down thoughts anyway because heck, I’ve nothing better to do that’s how I roll.

– One of the things I failed to take note on the Phil. team’s win at Jones Cup was the general maturity of our team. With an average of 28 or thereabouts that puts our team as one of the older ones out there, but not too far to be over the hill of course. Just a good mix of really highly experienced players in every position.

– The Jones Cup win made us so much more better to my mind because it got a great big monkey off our back. The idea that we had an international quality team that can not only compete but win gives us confidence. And I don’t think I have to explain what maturity + confidence can do for any team. Sure really youthful teams can be far more athletic, but maturity is equal to smarts, and smarts trumps youth anytime.

– That being said I gotta say this loss to China is a fluke. We lost because we couldn’t get our shots in, but the important thing was we were in a position to take good shots to begin with. They just didn’t go in. I know that sounds kinda dumb, but any coach will tell you he really doesn’t care if it goes in or not – that’s just the way basketball is – but rather, always take good, high percentage shots and not force the issue.

– And when we miss, we really, really miss though. I mean that basket had a lid on it and stayed there. It’s heartbreaking yes, but to blame the team is like saying Gary David can’t shoot, or Larry Fonacier can’t shoot, or LA Tenorio can’t shoot, etc. You can’t say that because that just isn’t true. They can shoot alright, and on any given night they will shoot the lights out of any gym anywhere. Except not this time. That’s just the way it is.

– I’m glad Dillinger is there, but I’m a little concerned that Mercado is out and LA is the only ‘true’ PG. While Norwood and, I guess, any number of guards can also play PG, Norwood seems to thrive at #2, and he and LA have a good thing going with their fastbreaks where LA hesitates the ball usually to a streaking Norwood who can finish strong. Frankly, I wasn’t all that impressed with Mercado’s play anyway. He’s like an SG in a PG’s body with a shoot first pass second philosophy, but at least he can handle the ball. I’d like to see what Coach Chot will do against pressing teams. With just one PG that’d be interesting to watch.

– #6 guard for China has a stutterstep on the break that’s pretty amazing. The only other player that I’m reminded of that does that is Jerry Stackhouse, who will come at full break then shift his feet around to suddenly change direction. I count that as amongst one of those interesting ‘trick’ shots such as laying up with the wrong foot, the kili-kili shot and ‘pektos’ shots. It’s worth learning by the very gifted fleet footed guys out there. It can really throw a defender off since he’d normally he’d be on his heels anyway.

– The Chinese team is really young with their oldest at 22 and average age around 19 according to the announcers. That is a strong team in the future but right now, they are terribly disadvantaged by their lack of experience and just downright bad choices. At times it felt like watching a UAAP team early in the season. With their height and almost automatic rebounding advantage they could and should easily make mincemeat of teams like ours, but they were weak in the paint and often resorted to threes. To their credit they never panicked and didn’t stop the pressure, even when we were ahead and stealing the ball often. At one point their center was blocked and pushed around by Douthit, and he responded by being even more aggressive. I like that a lot especially in young big men. This team should be a very strong contender in the near future.